Hunger-Relief Efforts Would Grow With New Tax-Relief Law
America's Second Harvest
American Farm Bureau Federation and America's Second Harvest urge quick passage of the CARE Act.
Congress can provide important hunger-relief assistance by enacting the CARE Act of 2003 (S. 476 and H.R. 7). The legislation has been adopted by both chambers and is awaiting conference. If enacted, the law would create incentives to allow all farmers and ranchers to deduct the costs and value of food donated to hunger-relief charities, regardless of how their farming business is organized. The CARE Act would increase the amount of food provided to needy people by an estimated 878 million new meals over the next 10 years.
"Supply is not the problem, but making sure that a share of the food we produce makes it to those less fortunate is a worthy goal of everyone involved in agriculture," said Farm Bureau member Chris Parker, co-owner of Parker Brothers Vegetable Farm in Maryland and Virginia and president of the Prince George's County Farm Bureau. "Allowing us to deduct the actual costs of our gleaning program and other charitable practices will enable us to get more food to hungry people who can't afford to feed their families."
"In the rural communities we serve, we depend on the generous support of farmers and ranchers," said Paul Hesler, executive director of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, in Elmira, New York. "The food donation tax change in this measure will result is a win-win for all parties – farmers, small businesses, charities, and most importantly, hungry Americans."
The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Roy Blunt (Mo.), was endorsed by President Bush and is included in his 2003 and 2004 budget recommendations.
Uncertainties regarding the U.S. economy and the war on terrorism have resulted in increased demands on America's Second Harvest network of hunger-relief charities across the country. The growing demand for emergency food assistance has in too many instances outstripped the food resources of local charities.
Passage of the CARE Act could not come at a better time. The American Farm Bureau Federation and America's Second Harvest recently announced their new partnership in a program called "Harvest for All." Throughout the year, farmers across the nation will be donating food, funds and people power to create a hunger-free America. Both organizations, in partnership with Syngenta, will be working together to ensure that every American can enjoy the bounty produced on American farms and ranches.
The Agriculture Department estimates that 96 billion pounds of edible food are wasted and dumped in landfills each year. America's Second Harvest estimates that if 1 percent of that food was re-directed from landfills to local charities instead of dumped, it would nearly double the entire food distribution throughout the America's Second Harvest network to people in need. America's Second Harvest feeds hungry Americans through 50,000 community-based agencies served by more than 200 affiliated food banks and food rescue operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
For more information, or to contact America's Second Harvest, see their website at: www.secondharvest.org
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